|will OCZ's new hybrid SSD
be a market game changer?|
Editor:- August 31, 2011 - OCZ today
a hybrid PCIe SSD -
the RevoDrive Hybrid - which integrates 100GB SSD capacity along with an onboard
terabyte HDD and
SSD ASAP / auto hot spot
cache tuning controller capable of 910MB/s peak throughput and upto 120,000
random write IOPS (4K) - all for an MSRP under $500.
RevoDrive Hybrid leverages the best attributes of both solid state drives and
traditional hard drive technology to deliver dynamic data-tiering on a single
easy to deploy PCIe storage drive," said Ryan
Petersen, CEO of OCZ.
Editor's comments:- although
many oems have tried to make a success of
all in one SSD-HDD
hybrid drives - the hybrids which have come to market in the past 6 years
have mostly been failures - as I predicted back in 2005 they would be.
That's because there's an infinite number of permutations which
designers can choose to blend the mix of interface, SSD and HDD capacity and
budget - whereas there is only a small and finite market in which any such
combination of features will work and be competitive. Many past hybrids have
also failed to ignite user buying chain reactions - because they were too slow -
having been designed with interfaces which were too slow, controllers which
didn't work, and not enough SSD capacity relative to the hard drive storage.
new product therefore is coming into a market which has been littered with
the bodies of past failures from other larger storage oems. What's different
- and what could make a difference in this case - is that the ratio of SSD
capacity to typical desktop RAM is a usable number (it's been much too low in
all previous hybrids from hard disk makers) and the ratio of SSD to HDD looks
right too. And the interface - PCIe means that the controller latencies won't
get in the way between the host and the SSD - which has been a weakness in SATA
based hybrids. Therefore it looks like a balanced design.
a big enough market for this exact combination of features? OCZ with its
track record of high performance consumer SSD sales is better placed to judge
this than most SSD companies (and most
analysts). If any
hybrid SSD is going to provide the kind of user experience which leads users to
spread the word and become part of the sales force - this one might well just be
SANRAD launches front loadable PCIe SSD accelerators
August 31, 2011 - SANRAD
today introduced front loadable PCIe flash SSD accelerators as options in
V-Switch storage appliances
enabling upto 4TB of flash, together with
2x10GE networking and
2x8Gb FC, all in a single
1U rackmount appliance (or 10TB in 2U).
The unique front-panel installation allows for quick, easy maintenance
and upgradeability in the data center. It enables a "pay as you grow"
approach, allowing customers to add or replace PCIe flash modules without
opening the appliance, similar to the way
HDDs are added to a
Editor's comments:- one of the disadvantages of
PCIe SSDs has been
that due to the need to open a rack to replace modules - some users will regard
the field replacement unit as being a whole rack - which pushes up the cost of
maintenance and logistics.
SANRAD says their new system is the industry's
1st to provide pluggable PCIe SSD storage - and at a system level that may
be true. But a
year ago OCZ
demonstrated a concept proof demonstrator- which it called
- which used a SAS
connector carrying a PCIe interface in a
3.5" SSD form
factor - which a tentative step in this direction too.
ESG publishes test report on WhipTail's iSCSI SSD
August 31, 2011 - Enterprise
Strategy Group has
a test report on WhipTail
Technologies' 2U iSCSI
SSD appliance in a simulated 300 desktop VMware / W7 environment.
ran glitch free - even when a flash drive was removed. ESG didn't have fast
enough servers to stress test the performance - so they only verified 90% of
the rated 250K IOPS.
fastest growing SSD topics this month
30, 2011 - I've updated my list of the top 50 SSD articles
read by StorageSearch.com's
readers in August.
Some things don't change much - like the list of
articles in the top 10.
But the fastest rising topics this
month have been - auto
tiering SSDs (up 34 places) and
(up 18 places). Are these topics whose time has come?
Foremay ships SSDs to NASA
Editor:- August 30, 2011 -
announced today that it has shipped SSDs from its
Hi-Rel range for deployment in NASA's
next generation space program, having completed evaluations for temperature
cycling and cold starts in the industrial temperature range. See also:-
of NASA on StorageSearch.
RunCore plans biggest SSD factory in China
August 26, 2011 - RunCore
plams to build the biggest SSD factory in China to enable the company to cope
with the increasing international demand for its products.
facory and test facility - based in Jinzhou Development Zone in Changsha city -
is expected to be complete in early 2012.
How much capacity can you crunch with SolidFire?
August 25, 2011 - SolidFire
today announced the public availability of its
estimation tool - which removes the guesswork and time it takes to evaluate a
dataset for duplicate data, compressibility, and space savings ( claimed to be
upto 70%) when using
the company's iSCSI
compatible SSD appliances.
"Talking with customers about
SolidFire's efficiency savings, the question inevitably arises around how much
duplicate, compressible, and thin provisioned data exists within their current
infrastructure," said Jay
Prassl, VP of sales and marketing at SolidFire. "When customers use
eScanner, it provides them with efficiency data that is immediate and accurate.
The more volumes scanned, the better the results, so we urge customers to run
this tool as widely as possible."
Pure Storage has amassed $55 million for bulk FC SAN SSD storage
Editor:- August 24, 2011 - Pure Storage
yesterday unveiled its first SSD product line and announced it had received
$30 million in series C funding bringing its total capital funding up to $55
Pure Storage 's
provides bulk / utility SSD storage for
FC SAN enviroments - which
by using inline dedupe and compression - can in some applications (25TB and 50K
IOPS per U) offer lower cost and yet still deliver higher performance than
classic hard drive disk arrays.
Editor's comments:- This
looks like a spreadsheet based value proposition rather than a disruptive new
product - and follows a market groove already established by
and Nimbus Data Systems.
The market for this type of SSD market will be huge - but along the way to
proving itself will have to fight off competition from
auto-tieing SSDs and
white box SSD RAID which
will nibble away at the same customer SSD budgets.
- Pure Storage 's CEO, Scott Dietzen introduces the company's value
proposition of 10x faster speed than HDDs at lower cost - and says goodbye to
the hard drive.
TMS launches 10TB 1U FC SAN SSD
Editor:- August 23,
2011 - Texas Memory
launched its 1st
eMLC SSD -
- a 10TB FC SAN SSD in a 1U
- with 320K IOPS - rated for a 10-year life assuming 50TB writes/day.
CEO Holly Frost said, "Our entry into the eMLC market with the
RamSan-810 is a natural
evolution for us and an exciting and significant expansion of our business.
Channel partners and users can now go with the undisputed leader in enterprise
flash solutions for all their needs. The RamSan-810 scales (40x) to 400
Terabytes, 160 GB/s, and 12.8M IOPS within one 40U rack using only 10-KW.
Imagine how efficiently your databases will run with this Flash storage
Editor's comments:- for TMS - I see this
new capacity optimized enterprise SAN SSD product opening new value markets
rather than displacing the IOPS optimized SLC and latency optimized RAM
rackmounts already existing in their product range.
For the SSD
market - it's another step on the road to the
Currently it will take 2 and a bit cabinets to get there - but in another 4-5
years a bulk storage PB SSD may fit snugly into 1U.
the true cost of hard drive vulnerabilities
August 23, 2011 - the problems caused by
sand blowing into hard drives in
the context of a desert war - is the subject of a recent blog by Mark Flournoy,
VP of Government & Defense at STEC.
other things this article shows the consequences of data storage failures. It's
the best blog I've seen so far on STEC's previously anemic SSD blog site.
...read the article - I wish I had an
SSD in Iraq. See also:-
fast purge SSDs
learn about SSD technology - in a 2 day course
August 23, 2011 - KnowledgeTek
is running a series of
courses on SSD technology (price $1,595) in September (/Longmont, CO) and
November (/San Jose, CA).
Among other things - KnowledgeTek says you
will learn - "...how SSDs work; how flash works; how flash is changing the
storage industry; skepticism for claims of reliability, low-cost, and low-power;
limitations for flash's future in SSDs; and what is poised to replace it."
Looking Ahead to the #1 Consumer Storage Conference
August 17, 2011 - StorageSearch.com
today announced that it is a media sponsor for the 11th annual Storage Visions® Conference
- which takes place in January 2012 at Las Vegas, NV.
This event, once
again organized by Tom Coughlin,
President of Coughlin Associates
will "... explore the convergent needs of digital storage to support
cloud content distribution and sharing, user generated content capture and use
and professional media and entertainment applications."
comments:- I've long held the view that the biggest and most significant
markets for SSDs are the
markets. And in the past 4 years consumer SSD vendors have mostly
underwhelmed consumers with badly designed and poorly integrated products.
But the consumer storage market is becoming more attractive for
hard disk makers -
because magnetic storage will
continue being viable
for many consumers applications long after they have
ceased to be
competitive in server markets.
Storage products which are
competitive in consumer apps (such as dumb / medium smart flash storage, true
SSDs, hybrids and HDDs) will have to grow wider apart in their characteristics
compared to their counterparts in enterprise markets - because there's an
economic cost to every feature which is put in and a market opportunity cost
for every feature left out. That means oems have to work even harder to
understand the special factors which make a successful consumer storage drive.
Understanding those special nuances and anticipating future trends is more
easily done when market stakeholders can discuss the market with their peers at
strategic events like Storage Visions.
SSD protection technology wins best of show award for SMART
August 15, 2011 - SMART
that its Guardian
technology - which provides enterprise grade data integrity in MLC SSDs -
has been chosen by the Flash Memory
Summit as a Best of Show award winner for 2011 in the category of Most
Innovative Flash Memory Enterprise Business Application.
data protection portfolio includes among other things
- MLC data management technologies which support more than 10 random writes
/ day for 5 years (similar to
a new range of 2.5" SAS
SSDs which provide upto 1.6TB usable capacity, 100K/50K random IOPS and
500MB/s sustained R/W transfer rates - which incoporate the above technologies.
- UBER (uncorrectable bit error rate) rate of 10-17. (This is the same as
SandForce - whose
controllers are used
in some SMART SSDs. The state of the art in 2.5" SSD UBER is
- 1 sector per 10-30 bits. Having said that - it's easier to achieve higher
UBER in slower SSDs and those which use SLC.)
MarketingSage view of Flash SSD Market
August 14, 2011 - a new blog by David Lamont of MarketingSage -
Strategic Marketing View of Flash Memory Products provides a summary of what
he considers to be the important developments discussed at the recent Flash Memory Summit .
article also provides a high end business development view of the SSD market.
Among other things David says - "...the sales cycles are long and purchase
decisions involve many people so a sophisticated nurturing system and lots of
sales tools are required." ...read
SandForce announces new market milestones
August 9, 2011 - SandForce
that it has shipped over 2 million
SSD processors in the
past 18 months - and the company this week also demonstrated its controller
compatibility with 24nm MLC flash made by Toshiba.
another million IOPS SSD story
Editor:- August 8,
2011 - Texas Memory
that its PCIe SSD - the RamSan-70
can deliver 1 million random
IOPS in a
512-byte, 100% read mode with one server.
This is a refinement of
the earlier public statements regarding the product's performance envelope.
Using the more common 4K sector size, the RamSan-70 performs 600K read IOPS. In
write-intensive scenarios, the RamSan-70 will sustain 700MB/s and 175K IOPS
Editor's comments:- the mushrooming of IOPS numbers
quoted by SSD marketers was discussed in a
December by Woody Hutsell. More is better - but only if
the way it's
measured is similar to the pattern of data accesses in your most overloaded
Fusion-io acquires SSD ASAP software company
August 4, 2011 - Fusion-io
announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire IO Turbine for
approximately $95 million.
David Flynn, Chairman and CEO of
Fusion-io. "We believe integrating ioMemory and IO Turbine adds a critical
and previously missing performance component to virtualized IT environments that
will accelerate the adoption of Fusion-io technology. This acquisition also
underscores our focus on providing customers with an enterprise solution that
features software and hardware components designed to accelerate their business'
full suite of applications."
revenue of $72 million for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2011, more than 6x
as much as the year ago quarter in 2010 and up 7% from from the prior
Editor's comments:- these are the first financial
results reported by Fusion-io since it became a publicly listed company. The
results - and the company's decision to acquire an
SSD ASAP software
company together confirm and validate the company's strong showing in our
predictive top 10 SSD
companies list in recent years. The
SSD market has
become a serious business - and is no longer just about how cleverly a bunch of
electronics guys can tame a bunch of unruly memory chips and make them play
hard drive tricks.
STEC announces auto tiering SSD software
August 4, 2011 -
it is sampling a new software SSD ASAP product - called EnhanceIO - a
cross-platform cache solution that works with any SSD to accelerate enterprise
applications, however, it is optimized for STEC SSD devices.
comments:- this move was anticipated in my comments in April - when STEC
acquired KQI. STEC has also started sampling its previously unveiled PCIe SSD
Samsung acquires more nv RAM IP
Editor:- August 3,
2011 - Samsung
Grandis - an
RAM company which has been developing spin transfer torque random access
Hyperstone's new controller enables low power skinny SSDs
August 3, 2011 - Hyperstone
today introduced their new
family of SSD
controllers - designed to enable physically small, very low power
Features include:- upto 130MB/s sustained write performance and
600 4K random write IOPS, NCQ, power down detection for increased power cycling
robustness, typical active current consumption at 25°C with 100%
utilization during stress test operating 4 x 3.3V NAND Flashes of about 250mA,
SATA partial/slumber (about 150mA) and CFast PHYSLP (about 5mA) power modes
"Our A2 available in a 9x9x1.2mm TFBGA 201 is probably
the smallest and most power efficient 4-channel SATA controller in the market,"
Gunyuzlu, President of Hyperstone Inc., USA. "We can now provide
SATA performance, industrial reliability and ruggedness for smaller form factor
systems without requiring any volatile memory prone to
issues. We also expect we are delivering the best possible random read/write
performance without relying on a DRAM, which is ideal for embedded applications."
comments:- this is the other end of the performance scale from the
fastest SSDs which
enterprise users are used to reading about. Low power embedded systems can't
afford the luxury of the low slew rate (fat caps) power supplies you see in
datacenters. And many commercial SSDs can get trashed and corrupted in less
than an hour if they're mistakenly deployed in such systems. Putting the power
fail detection inside the SSD and having no external RAM is just one of many
patented design techniques which specialist companies like Hyperstone use in
their quest to provide failsafe protection against power line induced data
Nimbus SSDs dedupe eBay
Editor:- August 2, 2011 -Nimbus Data Systems
announced that eBay has deployed more than 100 terabytes of Nimbus S-Class flash
memory to power its VMware virtual server infrastructure.
solution delivered near line-rate 10 Gbps
iSCSI performance to the
VMware hosts while consuming 78% less energy and 50% less rackspace than
Editor's comments:- eBay has been using SSDs to accelerate its
infrastructure for over 10 years using systems from various suppliers.
Click here to
read about an earlier eBay SSD story from 2000.
|SSD Market -
35 Years Market History|
| " We have to be
ready and take advantage of this quiet period to learn and know more
about SSD technology and what the experts are saying. I found a great website
that introduces and speaks about SSD in depth. It is called StorageSearch and it
is what I consider the best treasure trove on the web right now for SSD
information. Go check it out."|
|SSDs coming into
be Ready - blog on StorageGaga.com
(August 7, 2011 )|
Top 50 SSD articles - in August 2011
- SSD Myths
- "write endurance" - StorageSearch started lobbying flash SSD
makers to standardize on a way of specifying SSD endurance in 2006 - but vendors
were reluctant to talk about this issue because they were worried that user
fears about sudden SSD death would backfire on the industry - and they each had
their own secret ways of managing flash endurance. Nowadays you can't stop SSD
vendors talking about how clever they are at dealing with endurance. In theory
the problems are now well understood - but solving them presents a challenge
for each new chip generation - especially as MLC flash heads into 1X
- the SSD
Buyers Guide - summarizes key SSD market developments in the past 2-3
months and has a top level directory of SSD content listed by market, form
factor, interface etc.
- the Top 20 SSD OEMs
- updated quarterly - who are going to be the most successful SSD companies in
the market? For over 4 years - this quarterly tracker has proved its power and
accuracy as a sensitive way to pick up new companies and also as a way of
predicting bumpy rides for those already in the market.
- SSD news - is our
classic SSD news page (updated daily since 1998) which gives you a news view
of the whole SSD market from chips to cabinets. It also includes a long list of
key SSD oems extracted from the 300+ SSD makers profiled on this site.
- PCIe SSDs
- lists oems who market PCIe SSDs, and news and market commentary. We've
reported on PCIe SSDs since the first products shipped in 2007.
- the Fastest SSDs
- updated daily - this article lists the fastest SSD in each popular form
- SSDs replacing
HDDs? - that's not exactly the way it happened - the SSD vs HDD wars have
been discussed at this web address since 2005. In September 2011 - I wrote a new
article to bring this theme up to date.
- HDD news -
chronicles the last gasp years and historic anecodotes from the hard disk
market - as it reluctantly retires in favor of SSDs.
- Flash v Hard
Disks - Which Will Win? - this classic article published in June 2005 -
introduced the concept of "flash SSD floor price" - which correctly
predicted why some SSDs started to replace HDDs in many embedded applications
- long before flash reached capacity price parity with magnetic media.
- RAM v Flash
SSDs - which is Best? - I asked experts from 10 leading SSD companies to
write their views about the strengths and weaknesses of these 2 types of SSD
technologies. The article is updated from time to time - and you may be
surprised to learn that in some heavy duty server apps RAM SSDs are cheaper
to buy than flash - (as well as being faster).
- RAM SSDs - 20 or
so companies still market RAM based SSDs. This directory page tells you who
they are and explains why - as the market uses more flash SSDs - the need for
RAM SSDs is growing (instead of shrinking).
- 2.5" SSDs
- this is the most crowded part of the SSD market - as you'll see by the vendor
listings. This directory page also includes extracts from 2.5" SSD news and
a list of related articles.
- SSD market
analysts - StorageSearch.com is a trusted primary resource in the SSD
market - but the more you learn about this market - the more questions you
realize remain unanswered (or unanswerable). I compiled this filtered list
as a recommended resource for all those people who need custom reports and
detailed market help - which go way beyond my limited "content
prioritized" time budget or would involve too many conflicts of
interest for me to take on.
- are MLC SSDs
safe in Enterprise Apps? - this classic article discusses the important
differences between MLC and SLC - and how these related to SSD data integrity.
It's been updated many times - and includes new commentaries from
enterprise SSD companies. A new thread in 2011 has been factional wars
between different types of so called enterprise MLC SSDs.
- the SSD
Reliability Papers - links and abstracts of articles related to the subject
of SSD reliability and data integrity.
- Top 50 SSD
articles on StorageSearch.com - this is the article you're seeing now.
- Fast Purge SSDs
- is an article which includes a directory of vendors who design SSDs which can
self destruct or quickly and securely erase flash SSD contents (typically in a
fraction of a second) to prevent data getting into unwanted hands.
- auto tiering SSDs /
SSD ASAPs - market guide to Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage.
market history (1976 to 2011) - I published the first edition of this
history article in 2004 - and have been adding to it every month since. For
people who are new to the market it provides a clue to how much things have
changed - and how fast (or how slowly).
- SSD controllers &
IP - this is a directory of merchant market SSD controller chip technology
providers. There was a time when most SSD companies designed their own flash
SSD controllers. But as the market races its way along to an SSD oem headcount
which I expect will
top 1.000 companies - the newer SSD makers don't have the inhouse talent to
design world leading products for all the slots which their marketers would like
to fill. And many older SSD companies have found they can't react fast enough to
integrate new memory technologies into new SSDs. Enter the new market of SSD SoC
- SAS SSDs - our
market research uncovered a strong demand for SAS SSDs years before any such
products actually existed. Vendors were slow coming into this market for a
number of reasons. This article includes a timeline of the SAS SSD market - and
lists significant vendors.
- 1.8" SSDs
- who's who in the 1.8" market? - vendor directory, news and articles.
- 3.5" SSDs
- this vendor directory gives you examples of popular 3.5" SSDs going
back 10 years to the first such products in the market. Some of these had
performance specs which sound impressive now! (As long as you don't mention the
- SSD pricing
explained - this article clarifies SSD pricing. Understanding what goes
inside the SSD recipe helps you understand why some SSD menus cost a lot more
- the 10 biggest
storage companies in 2012? - in 2008 I explained why it would be impossible
to continue my series (started in 2001) which accurately predicted 3-4 years
ahead who would be the leading storage companies - because SSDs were becoming a
significant and disruptive factor - and many of the world's biggest storage
companies still hadn't entered the SSD market at that time.
- SSD jargon -
because we've have been at the leading edge of reporting the SSD market -
we've had to invent some of the jargon which is used to describe some SSD
concepts. You can't have a meaningful discussion about the intricacies of SSD
design without using these words. This article gives you simple explanations of
these terms and tells you where they came from - and links you to more detailed
info if needed.
- What's the
best / cheapest - PC SSD? - I often get emails from readers who ask
the above question.
SSD sudden power loss - this article surveys SSD power down management
across all the SSD architecture types in the market today. It explains why
subtle design choices made to boost speed can have drastic conseqences in
flexibility of system deployment. Power cycling induced faults kill more
SSDs in real life than endurance ever did. But SSD PSU management topology is
rarely mentioned in most SSD datasheets.
- SSD Data Recovery
- this is the industry's first SSD recovery directory (a topic we started
writing about in 2007). It includes articles and news related to recovering
data from faulty or damaged SSDs.
- this way to the
Petabyte SSD - in 2016 there will be just 3 types of
SSD in the datacenter. One
of them doesn't exist yet - the bulk storage archive SSD. This article
describes the future storage architecture of the datacenter, explains the
economics of SSDs replacing HDDs for bulk storage, predicts the characteristics
of these future products and suggests a roadmap for getting there.